I was doing some genealogical research, you know, dry dates of marriages and deaths, when I came across a juicy story. I have been writing this story ever since.
The story of my ancestors Susan Kirke and her husband John Dean is now a trilogy called The Pleasure Gardener’s Companion. This is the actual title of a book written for gardeners during the 18th century.
The love affair related in The Serpentine Path unfolds at the time of the American Revolution in an English country garden.
In the second book, Exiled from Eden, the characters move from London to a tiny Scottish town called Ellon. In 2000, I visited Ellon and saw the ruins of the castle where my characters actually lived and the garden where John Dean worked. It’s still there, part of the Scottish Historical Trust.
But the adventure doesn’t end there. The family moves to Northern Ireland to live. During the French revolution, the turmoil of political zeal spilled over to this country, and being a conservative Presbyterian, John Dean decides to move his family to America. But in the end, they find themselves in Nova Scotia, where the town of Dean is named for my ancestors.
People like to escape to another world when they read, and historical fiction is not all that different from fantasy, except that the imagined world really did exist once upon a time. And I wanted to make it as real as possible.
The first book is largely imagined, but both book 2 and book 3 contain mainly people who actually existed. Of course, I have invented their every day interactions, but I have as much as possible followed historical accuracy even in the language that I use.
I hope soon to publish these books. Please read more about them in my pages, and let me know if you’re interested.